Chapter 29: Recovered Memory
The darkness has gone and its army retreated. The world is at peace, but Hikari was taken by Amaterasu. I have to get Hikari... Hitomi back. Yuki, you will help me, right?
(Bridge, in the past)
Legion: What an energetic human.
You: You devil! Hitomi, stand behind me!
You: You damned monster, don't even look at her. (Darn it...I could've run away if I were alone, but since I am not...) Hitomi.
You: Listen. When I send you a signal, you will run away without looking about, understood?
Hitomi: No...I won't.
You: Just do as I say. Run as hard as you can without looking back. You creepy monster! I am here!
(Hitomi runs away)
(Legion runs after Hitomi)
You: Run! Hitomi!
Hitomi: Argh! Help!
You: Hey, you ugly monster! I'm right here. Come get me! (No. The devil's going to catch Hitomi any minute.)
????: (Do you need my power? Accept my contract, human. Then, I'll lend you my power.)
You: (W-what? Somebody's talking to me in my mind.)
????: (Do you not care about what happens to her?)
You: Okay, whatever it takes. Please stop the damned monster!
????: My condition is that you take me to Orochi. That's the only contract condition I'll ask, Contractor.
(Flash, back in the office)
You: Hitomi! (puff and pant) Where am I?
Yuki: Sir [Insert Name], you finally woke up.
You: Yuki? What's going on? Ugh...
Yuki: I brought you here since you fainted away right after Amaterasu took Hikari. Although the core had been eliminated, S1 is still not a comfortable place to rest without being careful.
You: I see...Amaterasu. Urgh...
Yuki: Please take it easy. I'm going to get you some medicine. Here, take it. It'll make you feel more comfortable.
You: Thank you. But, Yuki, why are you keeping me at a distance?
You: Hey, come on. Are you blaming yourself for what happened to Hikari? Is that why?
Yuki: Well, I'm kind of surprised. I thought you, Sir [Insert Name], would go face Amaterasu as soon as you woke up.
You: I'm still putting my memories together, piece by piece. That's why I can be a little bit more patient. I don't think I can confront Amaterasu yet. Besides, if I am the one who Amaterasu truly wants, she won't easily harm Hikari. She must know that if anything happens to Hikari, I won't ever cooperate with her.
Yuki: I am glad to hear that, but a little bit disappointed at the same time. I was actually thinking of beating you up if you tried to force yourself into the trouble of confronting Amaterasu.
You: What? You want to beat me up? Honestly, you know I'm the victim here.
Yuki: So, I've made my decision. I, Yuki, would like to make an official contract with you, Sir [Insert Name].
You: Official? What's the difference?
Yuki: Your memory is not completely back yet. To a devil, an official contract means that I must keep the contract conditions proposed by its Contractor. Also, as long as the contract is in effect, the devil must obey its Contractor. As a matter of fact, you, Sir [Insert Name], haven't made any official contract with me nor with Amaterasu. If you'd made an official contract with Amaterasu, she couldn't have done anything harmful to her contractor, Sir [Insert Name]. That is the absolute rule any devils brought into this world should stick to. Absolutely no exception.
You: That's not true. I did make a contact with Amaterasu, which remains in effect until Orochi is defeated.
Yuki: It's just an interim contract. There is a high possibility that this information about official contracts hasn't been properly delivered to humans. If it were known, everyone would've tried to make an official contract. Sir [Insert Name], do you know anything about the one who opens the gate?
You: The one who...opens the gate? Who is it?
Yuki: For any devil making an official contract, there is one condition that they will demand of their Contractor with no exception. That is finding the one who opens the gate. This is another absolute rule that must be followed. To be more exact, it is a mandatory condition. As you already know, we devils are beings from another world called Paradise and Abyss. The one who opens the gate. That is the person brought us into this world. Devils will see the one who opens the gate when they cross the dimensional border between different worlds. And they will instantly recognize that he is the one who can restore their native world. That's why devils will accept an official contract with proper contractors. The primary condition that prevails over every other condition in the official contract is finding the one who opens the gate. After that, other secondary conditions will be set down.
You: I've contracted with so many devils, but never heard of such a thing.
Yuki: That is because an official contract is a big burden full of responsibilities and limitations for devils. Also, what is the need for it if a devil can live freely without it in this world?
You: Responsibilities and limitations? For example?
Yuki: First of all, a devil who has made an official contract must obey its contractor. No objection is allowed. It will devote itself to its contractor, just hoping for its contractor to fulfill his or her conditions. From a devil's point of view, this is absurd. This contract system is unfairly designed to devils from the beginning. Because of that, devils would rather coexist with contractors under interim contracts.
You: I've got more questions, but this is good enough for now. What I still don't understand is why you, Yuki, want to make an official contract with me at this point.
Yuki: Well, it's a way of expiating myself. I put you in danger. Although that was a trap contrived by Amaterasu, the fact that I led you to danger doesn't change. To repay my debt, I believe serving you until your life is over is the best thing I could do for you. An official contract carries a binding force. Thus, even if I change my mind later, your safety is guaranteed.
You: Is that so? But, nah, I don't need it.
Yuki: To be honest, I don't feel confident enough that I can disobey Amaterasu when I meet her again. With an official contract made, the binding force will let me reject her command.
You: I don't know what it is, but I'm fine. I have this weird feeling that you might change into something different if I did it. Anyhow, what happened to Orochi's army?
Yuki: Orochi's army retreated to the darkness after the collision with the government and the union of religious groups. With the absence of a devil as powerful as Orochi, the possibility of them coming back from the darkness is close to none, I think.
You: That's good. The core of S1 is also gone. So, summoning Amaterasu was not a bad choice, was it?
Yuki: What Amaterasu intended will definitely cause some changes in this world. Look, here we already have a region of darkness much bigger than S1. Contractors call it the Crystal of the Abyss. I've already seen quite a number of devils gathering in the area.
You: The Crystal of the Abyss? Is that where Hikari is?
Yuki: If you're asking where Amaterasu might be, yes.
You: All right. Now that I've got my destination set, all I have to do is prepare.